AWS Public Sector Blog

Evaluating long-term value in migrating ERP and SIS applications to AWS

Evaluating long-term value in migrating ERP and SIS applications to AWS

Organizations can realize significant benefits when migrating their enterprise resource planning (ERP) and student information systems (SIS) to Amazon Web Services (AWS), including reduced costs, fewer security incidents, and improved agility. Education institutions, though, face slightly different decision-making contexts when evaluating which cloud provider to use to host these applications. Education institutions operate in more resource-constrained environments than organizations in many other sectors, and in this context, it can be tempting to only consider explicit cost benefits over a short-term time horizon.

In this blog post, explore several considerations associated with your decision and the total value that you can realize over a medium and long-term horizon when you migrate ERP and SIS applications to AWS.

The value of resilience

While it is simple for education leaders to evaluate differences in hard costs from cloud providers over a near-term window, it can be less straightforward to consider the value of resilience.  When considering the value of resilience, it is important to factor in the intangible, or implicit, costs of your decisions, specifically in the domains of people, the risk to technology and data, and the possible future impact to the organization. Implicit cost considerations might seem abstract – until students at your institution are flooding your help desk with tickets during course registration periods, or your SIS and ERP applications are forced completely offline because your underlying infrastructure was not resilient to data center outages.

The value of data and innovation

Three of Educause’s 2023 Top 10 IT issues (“#4: Smooth Sailing for the Student Experience”, ”#7. Moving from Data Insight to Data Action“, and ”#10. SaaS, ERP, and CRM: An Alphabet Soup of Opportunity“) reflect what AWS hears in conversations with education leaders about the strategic importance of deriving additional value and meaningful insights out of their data and information assets.

Among other institutional imperatives, data from the ERP and SIS is foundational to answering important questions about student success (at scale and individually) and to be able to inform resource planning activities. ERP and SIS applications hosted in AWS can integrate with AWS’s broader suite of services, including its machine language (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), application integration services, and more. For example, Highline College was one of the 34 public community and technical colleges that was part of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical College’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions migration to AWS. This set the stage for Highline College’s recent implementation of a financial aid tracker solution that both reduces significant operational burden on its financial aid staff while simultaneously making the financial aid award process more transparent for learners.

So as you consider the long-term value to your institution of being able to more seamlessly drive additional value and insights out of your ERP and SIS data, talk to your AWS team about how migrating your ERP and SIS data to AWS can help your institution unlock innovation and insights.

The value of a customer-obsessed cloud provider

Core to AWS’s identity is its customer-obsessed culture, codified in Amazon’s leadership principles. When AWS engages with higher education institutions, we work backwards from these customers’ most pressing challenges and strategic aspirations to implement solutions that help them solve these problems and realize opportunities.

Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA), for example, worked with AWS to improve both the resilience and security of their IT applications. Since 2019, two separate hurricanes forced their data centers offline. Separately, the university experienced an increasing number of cybersecurity events, which culminated in a major event in Fall of 2022. XULA worked with AWS and its partners VMWare and Strata Information Group to migrate 90% of its applications, including its Oracle-based ERP and SIS, to AWS. In addition to meeting its goals around improved security and resilience, XULA saw increased staff productivity and initial savings of $700,000.

Furthermore, through its commitment to open-source database alternatives like MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, and others, AWS makes it possible for higher education institutions to develop a roadmap to an eventual architecture free of contractual obligations with cloud vendors and legacy on-premises vendors. AWS offers a variety of resources to help customers both reduce cost and benefit from increased performance by migrating their databases to open-source based managed databases. Visit the AWS Database Migrations page to explore the options available to you, whether you are just starting or wanting to accelerate your journey.

Higher education leaders’ decision to migrate ERP, SIS, and other mission-critical applications to a cloud provider requires them to trust that the cloud provider will be a true collaborator with them on their journey. As you evaluate your choices, carefully assess the history of your options’ practices, and consider which is most likely to work with you to help you accomplish your institution’s objectives.

Optimization and licensing assessments

Another way in which AWS can offer help for higher education institutions is through the AWS Optimization and Licensing Assessment (AWS OLA). The AWS OLA is a complimentary program that empowers both new and existing customers to assess and optimize their on-premises and cloud environments, reduce required instances, and enhance resource efficiency. The data gathered can help you make informed decisions for your cloud journey.

According to Cintra, an assessment of over 5,700 Oracle instances indicated that running Oracle on AWS required an average of 35% fewer cores than on-premises. For additional savings, Cintra identified 47% of databases as good candidates for utilizing Oracle Standard edition instead of the more expensive Oracle Enterprise edition. And up to 50% of databases were well suited for migration to the cost-effective open-source platform PostgreSQL.

If taking advantage of this program is of interest, request an AWS OLA by initiating the “Migration Evaluator” process and letting our team of experts guide you.

The total value calculation

Institutions of higher education and K12 districts face a wide range of budgetary pressures, and in some of these contexts, it can be tempting to only consider near-term and hard-cost factors when deciding where to migrate ERP and SIS applications. It’s important to consider the long-term implicit value that may be harder to quantify. As you contemplate migrating your ERP or SIS to AWS, either reach out to your account team to explore your options or visit the “Oracle Applications on AWS” page and refer to the “How to Get Started” section.

Read related posts about migrating your Oracle applications to AWS:

Review the infographic, 5 immediate advantages to running your Oracle ERP applications on AWS, to how AWS customer are driving additional value from your ERP and SIS.

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Patrick Frontiera

Patrick Frontiera

Patrick brings over 17 years of higher education industry experience and 25 years of technology leadership to his campus and IT operations leader role on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Higher Education Team. Patrick’s ideal day begins with an early-morning Marina del Rey row against the backdrop of a rising sun.

Dave Hansen

Dave Hansen

Dave Hansen has been working in licensing for over 10 years and helping customers leverage those licenses through the Optimization and Licensing Assessment (OLA) at Amazon Web Services (AWS) for over four. Outside of work, he’s an avid cyclist and prefers to spend as much time as possible with his family.

Josh Badal

Josh Badal

Josh Badal is a solution architect working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) higher education customers to enable their technology strategy through building sustainable, secure, cost optimized, resilient, operationally excellent, and performance optimized mission system solutions. He has 15 years experience as an architect, engineer, analyst and developer.

Selim Burduroğlu

Selim Burduroğlu

Selim Burduroğlu has over 30 years of experience in digital transformation, strategy, sales, development, and modernization of applications and infrastructure in public sector. As the global business development specialist for data migration and modernization (D2M) at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Selim supports public sector customers migrate and modernize their enterprise workloads from legacy commercial databases to native cloud and open-source compatible AWS database and analytics services.